One of my first big posts last year when I began to focus my blog on tennis was where I threw more suspicion at Serena Williams (“suspicion” in how she was still so dominant at 34 years-old – remember that Steffi won the calendar GS at 22 – and “more” meaning I am not the only one to talk about Serena in this way). Interesting that Serena thus far is having a below average 2016 by comparison to 2015, but then again we have 3/4 of the season still to play. Remember, too, that since that USO SF loss to Vinci, Serena has fallen off the tennis planet. She appears to be excited for Rome and Roland Garros, so we’ll see if she can find some form and not add even more suspicion to 2015.
We just got done with a few posts about drugs in tennis and other sports since both the men’s and women’s tours are dealing with the drug issue big-time.
I don’t really want to dive back in to that, but I just watched last week’s episode of 60 Minutes that had this brutal story about the recent and current Russian Track and Field doping scandal, shedding new darkness on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and other competitions. Terrible story but great journalism, typical of this great American institution.
I hope you have the patience to watch this story (it’s only about 13 minutes long); the point is that track and field (at least in Russia) is riddled with doping at the highest levels.
Elsewhere, another Major League Baseball player (the son of former LA Dodger great Raul Mondesi) has been busted and suspended.
The bottomline is drugs are, more or less, EVERYWHERE.
The 60 Minutes clip includes an interview with Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. He is the guy to whom most have attributed the fall of Lance Armstrong. The story of the Russian T&F exposure involves a former Russian drug enforcement agency employee and a Russian athlete secretly taping other athletes, coaches and officials explain the details of that program. This is similar to how Lance was brought to justice. You have to have people break the silence.
In other words, drug testing seems to be pretty much futile, a failure for the most part, embarrassingly a step or three behind the drug culture, all of which is confirmed as we learn more about these big programs once their exposed. The control of information and results is handled by very powerful people. In the 60 Minute story, the athlete breaking her silence explains how when she became injured, she was no longer protected, and thus failed a test. She became expendable. Other Russian women have dominated recent T&F competitions, but have since been exposed and punished.
Seems pretty reasonable to assume that the only way big-time athletes can be brought to justice is for the people with intimate knowledge of these “programs” to step forward and break the silence.
Needless to say, naïveté and ignorance have luxury suites at many of these great athletic events, which we assume to be genuine, by the book competitions. And again and again these exposés make an ass out of you and me.